College of Arts and Sciences

Ancient Studies

Distinguished Lecturer Series

The Distinguished Lecturer Series seeks to provide a venue for faculty and students working on various areas of antiquity to explore common interests. The Program normally invites two major scholars a year whose interests cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. The scholars are chosen by a formal nomination process from the faculty. For the process, each nomination shall be a co-nomination by faculty members from at least two different departments. The lectures are of broad interest to students and faculty members. Each visitor will present a public lecture and meet with interested students and faculty during his or her visit.

Spring 2019

Please join us for the following lecture on April 8 at 4pm in Woodburn Hall 109.

Prof. Dan Potts, Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology and History, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (New York University)

Topic:"A walk with the water buffalo: Zoological peregrinations from the Indus Valley to Mesopotamia"

Since the first proper excavations of archaeological sites belonging to the Harappan civilization in South Asia during the early 20th century, generations of scholars have discussed the evidence for contact between the Indus Valley and southern Mesopotamia during the late 3rd millennium BC. This talk focuses on one piece of evidence that was identified by 19th century zoologists and their 20th century successors as a feature in need of explanation, namely, the presence of the water buffalo, commonly thought to have originated in South Asia, in what is today southern Iraq. This problem will be examined using a wide range of zoological, archaeological, historical and art historical data, spanning over six millennia, with some surprising results.

Past Distinguished Lecturers:

  • Monica Smith (University of California, Los Angeles)
  • Emma Dench (Harvard)
  • Barry Strauss (Cornell)
  • Adrienne Mayor (Stanford)
  • Greg Woolf (Institute of Classical Studies)
  • Oliver Taplin (Oxford)
  • Shane Buttler (Johns Hopkins)
  • Willeke Wendrich (UCLA)
  • William Harris (Columbia)
  • Richard Talbert (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  • Dale Kinney (Bryn Mawr College)
  • Susan E. Alcock (University of Michigan)
  • Shadi Bartsch (University of Chicago)
  • Mary T. Boatwright (Duke)
  • Glen W. Bowersock (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton)
  • Alan Cameron (Columbia)
  • John Dillon (Trinity College, Dublin)
  • Katherine Dunbabin (McMaster)
  • Robin Lane Fox (Oxford)
  • Christopher Gill (University of Exeter, UK)
  • Maud Gleason (Berkeley)
  • Fritz Graf (Ohio State University)
  • A. A. Long (Berkeley)
  • Joseph Manning (Yale)
  • Ian Morris (Stanford)
  • Josiah Ober (Stanford University)
  • James Porter (California, Irvine)
  • Richard Saller (Standford)
  • Brent Shaw (Princeton)
  • Lawrence Stager (Harvard
  • Raymond Van Dam (Michigan)
  • Heinrich von Staden (Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton)